The problem with Foxtel’s call for NBN copyright cops
Destroy the network to save the content
Kim Williams of Foxtel has become the latest high-profile executive to demonstrate a complete misapprehension of what the NBN is.
As reported here yesterday, Williams wants the National Broadband Network to become a “model” in its approach to piracy.
Because he doesn’t understand the aims of the network, its architecture, or the separation between wholesaler (NBN Co) and retailer (ISPs and others), Williams doesn’t understand what he’s really asking for. Complying with his demands would require three things – a complete re-architecture of the network; an abandonment of retailers’ control of their customers’ traffic; and a snooping regime far beyond what’s proposed by ASIO to try and avoid the risk that Anonymous might DoS our air traffic control system.
First, the architectural implications. With the minor exception of the “little bit” of Layer 3 related to multicast services, the NBN is a wholesale network designed to be content-agnostic. The NBN knows that I’m a customer of Telstra, Optus, TPG or iiNet – because it has to deliver my traffic to the appropriate RSP. That’s all.
The NBN doesn’t know what happens after the traffic is handed off to the retailer. The retailer routes the traffic I originate and puts me in touch with the servers I want to download content from.
To somehow make the NBN a copyright cop – ordering it to somehow prevent people from touching a Torrent or whatever – requires that the NBN have much more Layer 3 capabilities in its design.
This leads to the second problem: it’s not the wholesaler’s job to control its retail customers’ traffic. Williams doesn’t understand that the consumer – Richard in the inner west, Joe Sixpack in McMansionville, or the farmer in Booligal – is not an NBN customer. We’ll be signed on with retailers (some of which, one day, might be pay TV companies, either because Foxtel realizes it’s a good idea, or because someone else launches an NBN-connected pay TV operation).
What Willias is asking for is a wholesaler that has the technical and contractual power to say to (for example) Telstra: “You’re not allowed to carry this traffic”.
And – the third problem – the only way this can happen is if the NBN is, as we’ve had put from the Lunar Right end of its opponents, established as an aggregated snooping system over all of Australia’s communications.
Williams told the movie convention that “73 percent say they would stop if that notification came with a threat”. Of course, there’s also plenty of research suggesting that punters pay for legal offerings if they’re easy and affordable.
Which is probably one reason Apple is the 900-pound gorilla and his big brother, and big-content is increasingly an iTunes protectorate. ®
“However, capturing the business market for the NBN could provide a saviour for Macquarie Telecom’s falling telco revenues.
Chris Greig, group executive of Macquarie Telecom’s telco business, told Computerworld Australia it plans to bring NBN business plans to the market in October this year.
While the company is still working out the finer details of what its plans will comprise, he said existing business clients have already shown interest in switching onto the NBN once it is available.”
“He said so far companies are considering two options for the migration to the NBN. “There are some customers who have said, ‘I want to wait for the whole NBN to roll out across my sites and then I’ll do one project’. Then there are a number of others who have said, ‘I want to plan to roll it out as it comes through in my territory’,” he said. ”
Read the whole article. No demand?, No demand for the up to 1Gb capability which will be lifting the ARPU and lowering wholesale prices and guaranteeing the ROI for the NBN.?
Then compare with the reports on the same report in the AFR and News Ltd. rags
Then we have the CBA putting in their rwo bobs worth
Methinks the supposedly pro business Coalition doesn’t have a clue what the needs of business and the economy actually are their Playschool imitation NBN just won’t cut the mustard, so focussed on Video purely because of the threat to their masters Pay TV monopoly, economic incompetence
Re: has a complete misapprehension of...
Thank you David 12. Calling for stricter regulation of net content - a position broadly in line with the ambitions of much of Australia's public sector, the established content industry and many religious groups - is a call that does not fall on deaf ears. While the NBN is a layer 2 device, there is nothing stopping the government imposing special conditions of access - such conditions are probably planned as part of the end game anyway. With no other competing high speed fixed networks allowed, play the game or loose access to your customers. Stranger things have happened - http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/07/einstein/
'Kim Williams of Foxtel...'
Ummm, isn't he CEO of News Ltd?